Dispute - Neighbour's Large Tree Completely Shadowing My Home

Hey guys,

So my neighbour has a massive 3 storey high tree that is overshadowing my backyard. I get very little sun because of this, and even my other neighbour is affected by this. A friend said that they had a similar tree removed from their home for about $3-4k in the past so I assume that's a ballpark figure for a large tree.

I've mentioned this to them 6 months ago but they haven't done anything. I know the next step is to get the council involved which I will. I just don't have an extra $2k to chip in (if it comes to that) right now so I'm not in much of a hurry. I just want to prepare and do my due diligence in case anything happens. I've had lots of branches fall into my backyard over the years and I was thinking if it ever falls and damages my property, I wanna make sure I've at least put in the steps to showcase that I've informed them about it already so at least they're held responsible.

So my question is:-
- from a legal standpoint, lets say that trees gets hit by lightning one day, falls and damages my home, and they had prior notice of this very large tree that they didn't do anything about, who's liable for paying for damages?
- does anyone have experiences to share on how they resolved this issue if they encountered something similar?

Comments

  •  

    Shade in Australia is a gift from God. Home insurance will cover any problem of course.

  • +1 vote

    I'm not sure if it's different in each state but in Queensland if a neighbours tree damages the shared fence then they pay the total for repair/replacement.

  • +2 votes

    In some states, trees of that size, native or exotic can be protected under heritage acts, and thus protected with substantial legal penalties for removing or damaging them.

  • +13 votes

    It's nice to see some people here who don't want to get rid of a tree.

    • +10 votes

      Yeah, it makes me almost wanna cry when I drive to work and see yet another 50+year old eucalypt or even a deciduous / introduced tree being taken down. Got real risk for personal or substantial property damage? Sure, get rid of it. Don't like raking the leaves or don't want stains on your driveway? Shoulda thought of your precious needs before you decided to create the situation.

      •  

        That's so selfish, Aussies are dying every year due to trees falling on them left right and centre during storms or windy conditions. People's lives matter more than some tree!
        Imagine if your beloved got crushed by the 50 year old tree you love so much. You and the kids would never recover.

        • +1 vote

          At risk of sounding insensitive.. bwahahaha.. 'Aussies are dying left right and centre, because trees'

          Irrational response to living on earth, akin to the whole shark thing everytime that happens

        • +1 vote

          People's lives matter more than some tree!

          What part of

          Got real risk for personal or substantial property damage? Sure, get rid of it.

          is unclear?

        •  

          Ban cars too then, they kill more than anything. The rest of your rant I could not understand

        •  

          Is that you Pauline?

  • +7 votes

    Trees are naturally occurring objects in nature which are opaque and will block the transmission of light through the space which it occupies.

  •  

    As others said, you already know tree is there when you 1st moved in.

    If you want to be a (profanity), then get up a ladder and pee over the root with engine oil

  •  

    We have exactly the same problem. Neighbour has lots of tress and some even growing over the fence.
    We moved in 12 years ago, probably talked to them 3 years after (getting worried the safety of kids while playing in backyard, and our vege wont grow in shade) and they did prune it. Then over the years they stopped talking to us and we havent approach the subject. Their trees are growing and we could only throw the broken branches back to them.
    Our other concerns are safety, perhaps should ask Energex what's the height limit and how to ascertain whether those trees pose any problem in times of storm season.
    Some of the trees overhangs above hubby's shed and leaves fall onto the roof and block the gutter.
    In theory we can trim of any branches that "overshot" our boundary but they are very very tall and we cant do it unless we do it from their land….. Sigh….

  • +1 vote

    in regard to trimming the tree, our council doesn't allow you to throw the branches back. If you trim the branches hanging over your property then it's your rubbish, not theirs, and they can take action against you if you throw them back over the fence.

    • +1 vote

      Makes sense - if it's theirs you wouldn't be allowed to cut it in the first place. If you can, then it's not theirs and you can't dump it on their land.

      • +1 vote

        Depends on the council/state.

        Overhanging branches are technically their property but invading into your space, so you're allowed to cut the overhanging branches but need to give it back to the owner where I'm at.

  • +10 votes

    I am an owner of a huge gum tree on my property, it is also called the Widowmaker.

    Twice it has self pruned with killer branches.

    I have considered getting rid of it but I do like the shade it puts on the house, the house is cool even in summer.

    Unfortunately, my council has put a protected tag on it and removal is not allowed and they won't provide an answer if it becomes a safety risk whether that is grounds.

    I keep the tree trimmed costing thousands to minimise the risk to myself and neighbours.

    Having said all that people that move into properties then complain about things already there are a special breed of stupid. This is like living next to a park and enjoying it's ammenities then complain about people exercising in the morning, or living close to an airport and complaining the flight path is over their roof at 3am.

  • +14 votes

    This post, and you, are ridiculous. Complaining about shade in one of the hottest climates on the planet? About a beautiful big tree? Wanting the neighbours to pay THOUSANDS to remove it because of YOU? What right do you have to be so entitled? Disgusting.

    •  

      Over reacting much. If it is winter having a tree that blocks light and heat can be unpleasant Having a tree that might be a danger to your house is a issue, particularly as it looks like insurance T&Cs mean you might need to claim off your own insurance company if the tree comes down. Do you want to dial back the judgemental hyperbole a tad, butch. The questions, and issues, are legitimate - particularly as this tree has already dropped branches. There has been a few campers that have been killed by having trees drop branches on them. We should keep our discussions civil and helpful.

      •  

        Had a neighbour's tree partially collapse and cause $1000 damage to my property. I had to foot the bill.

        No way I would want a tree to come down because of too much shade, I would rather move.

        • +2 votes

          If the tree is dangerous, then by all means it should be removed, trimmed back or made safe. However just because a tree is large doesn't mean it is going to fall over.

          Your argument is so ridiculous you could say with everything:
          - A fence which falls down could cause damage or death, so you going to ask the neighbour at their expense to remove a fence?
          - The road in front of your house could welcome a dangerous driver who could plough into you, should we remove that too?
          - A gas appliance built close to your house could explode
          - A window could shatter from you kicking a ball..

          these arguments are all as absurd. The biggest nuisance a tree causes is undermining footings of structures and foliage, asking someone to completely destroy a tree because of shade is ridiculous.

      • +14 votes

        but when 2/3rds of it is completely shaded, making it completely unusable,

        Do you listen to yourself?

        Shaded = Completely unusable???

        Tonight my prayers will be for your neighbours to get better neighbours in the future.

        • -1 vote

          well, at least he doesn’t have you as a neighbour, he should be grateful for that.

          • +9 votes

            @try2bhelpful: OP thinks a backyard being shaded makes it unusable. That's indefensibly asinine.

            • -2 votes

              @HighAndDry: And you are being completely OTT with your insults. From the perspective of some of the things he wants to do the yard is unusable. You can query his exaggeration without being obnoxious.

              • -2 votes

                @try2bhelpful: @try2bhelpful thanks. People get so pedantic and take figure of speeches out of context. It's totally within the law for me to cut all branches that grow over my side of the fence, but any suggestions to remove the tree makes me entitled. /shrugs

              •  

                @try2bhelpful:

                From the perspective of some of the things he wants to do the yard is unusable.

                …which he would have factored in the offer he made for the house when he bought it. A reasonable person would, anyway.

        • -5 votes

          Yes, completely unusable clothes hanger to dry clothes that don't get any direct sunlight. Just in case you didn't notice, I said completely unusable. Let's all be pedantic and focus on that because context doesn't matter.

          Glad to know your prayers are for my neighbours. Your life must be miserable and meaningless that you waste your prayers on random ozbargain people's neighbours.

          • +5 votes

            @jlim87:

            Yes, completely unusable clothes hanger to dry clothes that don't get any direct sunlight.

            Thankfully I attended Primary School and learned about science and stuff.

            https://www.quora.com/Do-you-need-the-sun-for-water-to-evapo...

            • -5 votes

              @tsunamisurfer: I could also get one of those magical things they call a dryer and dry them indoor, and during the night! omg what a genius idea!

              You must be really fun at parties, the smarty who googles stuff and constantly wants to prove he's right. People have preferences on how they want to do things. Please get back to your top priority for the night and do those prayers for my neighbours.

              • +1 vote

                @jlim87: Are you angry that he proved you don't need sunlight for your outdoor washing line to dry clothes? And your insult was to call him smart like it's a vice?

                You just sound like a nasty person at this point and very entitled because your request is unreasonable and selfish.

            •  

              @tsunamisurfer: Lol I bet the clothes will still dry, just takes longer. So it is not completely unusable. Just need to go back to primary school science, I guess.

        •  

          Do you listen to yourself?

          Shaded = Completely unusable???

          Tonight my prayers will be for your neighbours to get better neighbours in the future.

          To be fair, you don't know exactly where is OP located. In some regions of the world where certain climate conditions are met, when approximately 2/3 of relatively flat ground is shaded, mole people immigrate in swarms completely inhabiting whatever space available and are often territorial (depending on the exact species).

  • +3 votes

    If only trees provided us with the oxygen we need to breathe.

  • +1 vote

    In SA removal of large trees regardless whether they are on private or public land is regulated. Removal of them without council approval is illegal. If it is deemed significant good luck getting it cut down without community consultation. I think some councils in Victoria are the same eg: https://www.monash.vic.gov.au/Building-Planning/Planning/Veg...

  • -1 vote

    I heard some people are so desperate that feed something to the tree and it dies gradually. Not something I condone but happen in my area.

  • -2 votes

    Some years ago i received a letter from Council asking for comment on an application my neighbour had submitted for putting a second storey on their house. The house is hard up against the northern boundary of my home. I wrote to Council objecting on the grounds that I would lose significant "solar access". This was considered a valid claim and the application was rejected.

    So, in Sydney at least, raising the issue of loss of solar access with Council does carry some weight.

    Good luck!

    • -1 vote

      Thanks for sharing, it's a really good point and something I'll keep in mind. The sun goes behind the trees at 2:30pm or so, so it would affect my line of sight for solar access shall I ever install that in the future.

      I don't think it'll get to that since I'm actually happy to pay for the tree's removal but it's good to know. Thanks again for the useful insights!

      • +1 vote

        It’s not really relevant as the tree is already there.

        In our local area you don’t get special consideration for solar access if you want to put solar panels on your roof. Trees cannot be simply removed to give you sunlight, there needs to be additional reasons, like the trees being unsafe.

    • +2 votes

      how's this relevant? his neighbouring is not applying to council to plant a 8 Metre tree

      •  

        I'm not referring to solar panels but the general amenity of your property. It's relevant because trees that were once not an issue can grow to sometimes become an issue.

        If a neighbours tree has grown to reduce the amenity of your property and restricts solar access it's a valid claim that can be used to request council to assist in making a determination that the tree should either be pruned or removed.

  • +4 votes

    I thought this was a joke, but people are very serious about this tree being a nuisance. Trees not only give you oxygen, shade, cover from wind&storms, but also support the ground from eroding and keep other things alive around them. Have you noticed how there's not many things that are alive in a desert and lots of animals in a forrest?

    Im sorry but that tree was there before you moved in. And it will probably be there after you leave and that's the way it should be! If you want to avoid living things, maybe move into an apartment or get a house in Coober Pedy, there's lots of sun there. Otherwise, be friendly with your neighbour and learn to live amongst living things - you're lucky to have all that from my perspective.

    • -1 vote

      There's tons of trees in my front yard, trees in my neighbour's backyard too, and heaps in my leafy neighbourhood. I just don't like that one tree that is next to his fence and way too overgrown and completely towering my home.

      I have nothing against trees, but not all trees are where it should be and can grow and disrupt property or whatever. I'm entitled to trim off everything on my side of the fence (which is the larger portion of the tree), but with that cost to do so, I'm contributing that fund to the removal of it.

  • +1 vote

    I can't get past the OP calling a clothesline a clothes hanger!

    • -1 vote

      LOL! Technically it's a clothes hoist I was referring to. I blame the fact that I haven't got to use one for so many years for the mishap.

  •  

    Is the tree that is making your backyard 'unusable' doing the same to your neighbour's yard? Yet he doesn't seem to have a problem with it. Do you think perhaps the real problem in this story is you? Accept what you can't change.

    • -3 votes

      No it's not really affecting him since he's backyard is way bigger. It's at the corner of his backyard and his pool is on the opposite end. Is the real problem me? I don't think so. There isn't actually any problem in this story, just questions I had which smarter people have kindly answered. This tree will be removed and tree huggers will have to shed another tear. It's just a cost of an arborist, best case scenario I pay half, worst case scenario I'll cover it.

      • +1 vote

        It would help if you had a good relationship with neighbour before hand. Don't think by covering the full cost the neighbour will allow and consent to it being done. Also you should actually call the council as Natives of that height would often have protections on it.

        Whatever you do be prepared for neighbour to do nothing as your neighbour has all the power and direct the whole process. Just remember that when you deal with the neighbour

  • +4 votes

    I feel bad for OP, it's legitimate concern.

    Clearly most people here don't own their own homes, just wait until you get out of your parents' house…

    • +4 votes

      don't feel bad. Anyone who is "out of parents home" knows when buying property the most important trees to look at is your neighbours because you can't do shit all about them

      • +1 vote

        Oh so people do admit how important trees are in terms of how it affects a property?

        The issue is not that people are saying you can't do shit about them (which you certainly can as per Disputes Victoria and Common Law), it's that they think it's a non-issue in the first place. Which makes sense if you've been living off your parents the whole time and don't understand how it can be of great concern.

  •  

    Don't remove it chip in with your neighbour to get it trimmed down to the stump or a severe haircut, complete removal is too costly

  • +1 vote

    While making no comments on this situation, isn’t it amazing how hard it is to do anything with trees on your own property, yet when the Government wants to put in a road or trams, boom, they’re gone.

  •  

    Unless the tree is in poor health, legally it's difficult to blame your neighbour if lightning strikes it and the tree falls on your house

  • +5 votes

    Well its 7:04 am and I'm all out of negs for the day :(

  •  

    Sane situation years ago. Council won't do anything unless there's imminent safety risk and good luck with that.

    1. Best option is to come to an agreement with neighbor. It'll cost you and not always easy. That's what I ended up doing after the original owner sold.

    2. You're allowed to cut branches on your side.

    That's provided you are legally allowed to cut the tree/branches in your area.

  • +5 votes

    Anyone else run out of neg votes on the entitled OP?

  •  

    OP I don't get you mate.

    You say the biggest problem here is your backyard is unusable because of the neighbours tree, which seems kind of odd to begin with. Everytime someone has asked you who was there first, you've blatantly dodged the question and thrown some irrelevant answer to it. Implying you know you're in the wrong here. Seriously though why buy in a place and complain it's noy usable, why should an existing neighbour be put out because the new kid on the block is entitled.

    The Romans had a great word for it; Ignoratio elenchi.

  •  

    You can ask the neighbour to cut off the branches that fall in your backyard or just do it yourself. That's about it. You cannot do anything about the tree. Same case happened in Judge Judy LOL

  •  

    Id imagine that the only way you will get rid of it is if you pay the full amount for the removal, and the purchase/planting of replacement vegetation…AND the neighbour agrees. If it isnt negatively affecting their property, why would they pay anything?

  •  

    How old is the tree? Is it the neighbors tree or a tree on their property? Meaning does your neighbor have any control on it? Does it have a preservation order in place? Does the sun shade all year or just part? Is it native?
    Jeeesh …I wonder how humans survived all this time given all the trees.

  • +2 votes

    Threads like these really go well with lunch.

  • +2 votes

    Im pretty sure if the tree is that big it was there first…..

  •  

    IMO unless you're willing to pay to remove the tree yourself and your neighbor is willing to let you do it you're out of luck. Maybe, if you're lucky they hate the tree also and may chip in also. Involving council will just piss your neighbors off. Maybe you could offer to replace the tree with something else also.

  • +3 votes

    That tree is worth many thousands to the value of the property.

    That tree is probably a protected tree by local council and can't be removed due to the size.

    You have home insurance if anything ever does happen with the tree.

    Overshadowing is subjective, and your opinion on its removal is your own and you have no legal right to get the tree removed.

    Speak to an arborist if you have worries about over hanging onto your property and what you are allowed to do.

    These massive trees are very much sought after in nicer suburbs. Oh well

  • +1 vote

    OP, sounds like you better just move - then you'll be happy, the neighbours will be happy and the tree will be happy (and will continue to survive, hopefully a long long time).

    When you moved in, you were aware trees grow, I presume?

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